Bal Charitras

The Dance of Narad
One hot day in the village of Chappaiya, baby Ghanshyam was playing outside in his cradle whilst his mother Bhaktimata was preparing food for their family. At that time, high up in the clouds, Lord Narad, along with Shankar and Tumaroo were watching Ghanshyam playing by himself. Seeing him their hearts were filled with love and decided to come to Earth to be with him. In a flash they appeared beside his cradle and Ghanshyam gurgled happily when he saw them. The three of them bowed down to show their respect to Ghanshyam. Shankar and Tumaroo the sat on the floor beside the cradle while Narad struck a dancing, Tumaroo then began to chant the beat –Tha – Thaya – Tha – Thaya, while Shankar set the rhythm with his damroo. Ghanshyam also joined in by clapping his hands.
Narad then began his divine dance. Ghanshyam’s eyes were filled with happiness and joy. When Narad dances, then the whole universe is dancing in motion. It was an amazing sight to behold. That day Ghanshyam’s uncle Vashrambhai and Rampratapji had been visiting the village and finally were on their way home. While Narad was still dancing, they approached the house. As they got near, they rubbed their eyes in amazement. They could not believe their eyes when they saw the three lords entertaining Ghanshyam. They immediately fell to their knees to bow down to the heavenly beings. They then took out some bananas they had been carrying and offered it to the gods. Narad stopped his dance and stepped forward and accepted the offering of bananas. He then blessed both Uncle Vashrambhai and Rampratapji.
The three lords then turned to baby Ghanshyam and showered their blessing on him. They then ascended back to their heavenly home. Vashrambhai and Rampratapji got up and ran into the house excited. Bhaktimata looked up for her cooking and asked them why they were so excited they told her, what they had seen. She quickly ran outside leaving the vegetables. Narad, Shankar and Tumaroo and gone but Ghanshyam was still lying there clapping his hands in time to the rhythm.

 

Sheshnag and the Well
There was a well near Dharmadev and Bhaktimata house where people collect their water. One day Ghanshyam was playing with her cousin sister Balwantbai. Bhaktimata was in the house doing the daily chores.
As they were playing near the well Balwantbai caught her eyes on a beautiful butterfly and chased after it. While she was chasing it Ghanshyam began to crawl in the well. He was reaching the low wall of the well. He pushed himself up and clambered on top of the well. He leaned over, and peered down it the darkness of the well.
He then lost his balance and tumbled down into the darkness. Deep down inside the earth there was Lord Sheshnag the many headed cobra snake, looked up and saw Lord Ghanshyam falling down. He immediately rushed up to save him as he entered in the well; Ghanshyam then fell on Lord Sheshnag’s hood.
Bhaktimata had finished her chores and came out of the house. Balwantbai called Bhaktimata and said “I can’t find darling Ghanshyam and I last saw him near the well”. Bhaktimata rushed near the well and looked down at the well and all she could see was the darkness. She then saw Young Ghanshyam on Lord Sheshnag’s hood. She thought Ghanshyam would drown, so she called Dharmadevji and Rampratapji.
There they saw a light appearing and saw Young Ghanshyam raised by Lord Sheshnag. Rampratapji was amazed and thought back to his dream about Lord Krishna and Sheshnag at Vrindavan.It was just like this.
Sheshnag rose higher and Bhaktimata reached for Ghanshyam and cuddled him and tears ran down her cheeks. Lord Sheshnag bowed his head before them and descended into the water and returned to his home in the centre of the earth and the light went out.

 

The Visit of Vairajpurus
One morning, Bhaktimata had finished feeding baby Ghanshyam and laid him in his cradle outside to sleep.
Just then Vairajpurus a sadhu entered the house and walked towards the cradle. Vairajpurus was a giant of a man; he had a huge belly and long locks of hair. Any child would be scared to see him! He stood quietly next to baby Ghanshyam
He looked at the innocent child and spoke softly to him, “Oh Lord i wonder if any of the other gods have come down to see you?”
Ghanshyam could hear what he was saying and answered in his head “Many gods have come and many are still to come.”
Hearing Ghanshyam’s sweet voice in his mind, Vairajpurus was overjoyed. He exclaimed “Oh Lord, you yourself are God come down to Earth. So surely everyone will come to see you.” Saying this he bent over to his cradle and placed some toys in it and tied a sacred silk thread around the baby’s wrist to protect him. He then blessed the baby and set off for the religious fair at Shravan Lake.
On his way to the fair, he stopped by a Lake to drink some water. There a Brahmin called Ramdutt was taken his ritual bath. As Ramdutt rose from the water he got frightened form seeing the giant Vairajpurus standing in front of him. He looked up at Vairajpurus and spoke “Oh Maharaj, i have never seen anyone as tall as you in my life! They say that many many years ago, in the age of Truth there were many men like you. But in today’s world you must be the only one. Tell me where are you coming from and where are you going?”
Vairajpurus answered him that he had been to Chhapaiya Village to visit Ghanshyam and was on my way to the Religious fair at Shravan Lake. He then bid the Brahmin farewell and went on his way.
Ramdutt was afraid that Vairajpurus may have done some harm to Ghanshyam. He rushed to Chhapaiya and called Dharmadev from the house and told him about Vairajpurus. They quickly went to check the cradle.
Ghanshyam was sound asleep in his cradle. They were amazed to see the bright light that was glowing from the baby boy. They stared in wonder. Then slowly the light began to fade and Ghanshyam opened his innocent eyes and smiled at them. Ramdutt knew then that Ghanshyam was indeed the Lord.

 

The Khampa Talavadi
Ghanshyam loved listening to kathas. A sadhu by the name of Haridas used to read the Ramayan nearby a pond, where Ghanshyam lived. Ghanshyam would go there with his friends and listen to it being read.
One day, after listening to the Ramayan, Ghanshyam and his friends decided to go and play near the pond. They ran about happily and played with the beautiful flowers, making garlands. They also began to play on the trees. Ghanshyam climbed up the Tamarind tree. While playing, he climbed down, but a piece of wood from the tree cut his right thigh. Ghanshyam cried in pain as the blood poured out.
One of the women in the village saw what happened and quickly rushed to call a doctor. The doctor came running and began to clean up the cut. The doctor bandaged Ghanshyam up. One of Ghanshyams friends had run to call his parents. His mother, Bhaktimata had fear in her eyes. Ghanshyam said “Don’t worry Ma. I am fine. Here see for yourself”.
Everyone was shocked to see Ghanshyams leg. They couldn’t believe their eyes. There was no cut, no blood. Only the smallest scar that you could hardly see!
After this event, the pond was named Khampa Talavadi. Khampa meaning ‘cut’ or ‘wound’. Even today, that very pond is called Khampa Talavadi.

 

The Wresting Match

One day, Ghanshyam was playing with his friends near the river. Nearby, a group of famous wrestlers had come from Nepal. They were also near the river practising their wrestling. Ghanshyam and his friends watched the wrestlers with great interest.
Ghanshyam had an idea. “Let’s challenge them to a wrestling match!” said Ghanshyam. But his friends were very scared. They were very small compared to the wrestlers. Ghanshyam used his powers and gave his friends the strength of elephants.
The wrestlers laughed at them. As they began to wrestle, the young boys were filled with such strength that they threw the wrestlers to the floor in no time! Many people saw this defeat and the news spread quickly.
The three nephews of the Kind of Ayodhya heard the news and felt jealous. They decided to challenge Ghanshyam to a wrestling match.
On the day of the wrestling match, hundreds of people had arrived to watch. Many people were excited to see the great strength of Ghanshyam. The strongest and biggest nephew came first. His name was Bhimsang. He was more than double Ghanshyams height and he had chains around his ankles. He challenged many men to see who can pull him down by the chains. No-one could pull him down no matter how hard they pulled. He stood there as strong as a mountain.
The wrestler then turned to Ghanshyam. Ghanshyam stood there smiling. He picked up the chain and pulled. Suddenly, Bhimsang came crashing down to the ground! Everybody cheered loudly to see the wrestler on the floor.

There were two wrestlers along with this wrestler. They also had the same iron chain. They said, now we will place this iron chain on Ghanshyams foot and will make him fall. Ghanshyam took the chain himself and put it on his feet. Then he stood amongst them and said, “Now pull the chain and try to defeat me.” The wrestlers pulled as hard as they could, but Ghanshyam just stood there as firm as a rock! The crowd cheered with joy.

Ghanshyam stepped forward and the King gave him with a shawl and flowers. The crowd cheered and clapped for Ghanshyam.

 

The Crocodile Asur (Demon)

One day, Ghanshyam and his family were bathing in the river Saryu, along with a Brahmin priest.  There were also many people in the river happily bathing.

Ghanshyam lifted his hands up and decided to go underwater. But at that moment, the evil asur, Gayadutt was under the water, in the form of a crocodile waiting for his chance. As soon as he saw Ghanshyam, he opened his large jaw and picked Ghanshyam up! The crocodile asur dragged Ghanshyam away into the deep water.

Ghanshyams brother, Rampratapji saw this. He started shouting loudly. Feeling afraid, many people rushed out of the water yelling and screaming. They are started praying for Ghanshyam.

Just then, the crocodile asur appeared above the surface. This time, Ghanshyam was riding on his back, holding the jaw and beating the crocodile up! What a sight it was to see a little boy like Ghanshyam on the huge crocodile. Rampratap took the form of Sheshnarayan, a giant snake and leaped into the water to help Ghanshyam. They both wrestled with the crocodile asur, beating and kicking him until finally they lifted the asur and smashed him down on the shore of the lake.

Thus, with a victory for Ghanshyam and Rampratap, many people were cheering with joy at the death of the evil crocodile.

 

Guarding Ghanshyam

One day Ghanshyam’s aunty came along with her friends to visit Ghanshyam. She had brought with her many presents for him such as new clothes and sweets. In the evening as the sun was setting, the family sat together in the garden. They all sat around admiring at how beautiful Ghanshyam looked in his new clothes. They sat under the tree chatting and joking. It was a beautiful evening, so they decided to sleep under the stars.

When everyone was sleeping peacefully, Ghanshyam’s uncle wasn’t. He was looking up at the stars when he realised someone standing near Ghanshyam. It was such a huge figure that Ghanshyam’s uncle got scared. He woke up Ghanshyams dad, Dharmadev. Instantly, Dharmadev jumped from the bed and shouted, “Who are you? What do you want?”

The figure stepped forward. It was Lord Hanuman! “I am Hanuman” he said. “I am here to protect my Lord Ghanshyam from harm”. Seeing this divine figure, Dharmadev and Ghanshyams uncle praised Lord Hanuman. Lord Hanuman rose into the skies and amongst the moon and the stars, continued to watch over Ghanshyam throughout the night.

 

The Jamun Tree

Ghanshyam loved jamun (grapes). Not far from Ghanshyams village there was a farm that had the most beautiful jamun trees. Ghanshyam, along with his friends were playing near the farm. They all raced to the trees to eat the jamuns. Ghanshyam began to climb the tree, standing on the branches, jumping up and down to get the jamuns for Him and His friends. Soon the ground was covered with the purple fruits. As they began to eat, the guard of the farm was passing by. Seeing the boys, he started shouting and began to run towards them with a stick! Seeing the angry man, all the boys ran away. However, Ghanshyam was too late. The guard got hold of him tightly, he raised his stick.

Ghanshyam was not scared. With his hand he caught hold of the guard’s arm and with great strength he whirled the guard round and round and round. When he let go, the guard dashed against a tree and fell to the ground unconscious.

 

DON'T KILL ANIMALS!

When Ghanshyam was a small boy, there was an outbreak of cholera in the village. Many villagers thought it was due to the Mother Goddess being unhappy with them. Therefore, it was a tradition to sacrifice live animals to please the Goddess.

One day, some villagers had brought many goats and gathered them at the temple, ready to sacrifice them. They called a Bhuva, a man who practises witchcraft, to make the sacrifices. He was dancing around, shouting and waving a huge sword. When Ghanshyam heard what was happening he came running to the temple. He rushed up to the Bhuva and snatched the sword off him. Then the most amazing thing happened. Ghanshyam took on the form of the Goddess. He stood there big and fierce, holding a sword in his hand.

“Stop this madness! Killing poor, innocent animals isn’t going to make the cholera go away! Killing them is a sin. If you cut off their heads then I’ll cut off yours too! If you want to be free of the disease don’t kill! Pray to Ghanshyam Maharaj to help you!”

Saying this, the Goddess took the form of Ghanshyam. The people of the village stood there shocked. Then they rushed around Ghanshyam, touching his feet and praying to him to help them of the terrible disease.

Later during the day, a miracle occurred. Ghanshyam took the many different forms and visited the houses of ill people. In each house he cast out the disease and all the sick, dying people became well again. For hundreds of years, there was still no sign of the cholera disease.